The Lord calls Peter as part of his disciples even after he denied Jesus three times (Mark 16:7).

Source: Clarion, 2001. 2 pages.

Mark 16:7 - And Peter

But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, and just as He told you.’

Mark 16:7

A few words, spoken almost as if in passing, can have great meaning. So it is with this text. The angel told the women who had found the tomb empty on the day of Christ’s resurrection that Christ had risen from the dead. Then the angel said: “But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see Him, just as He told you.’” What may seem as if spoken in passing, and what we may easily read over without much thought, is that the angel said: “Go, tell His disciples and Peter...” These words have great meaning. Of the four Gospels, Mark is the only one which includes this detail. And, in the Bible, details are always important.

Peter always had been a leader and spokesman among the twelve disciples. When Christ asked his disciples who they thought He was, Peter was the one who made the confession, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). Peter always had been an impulsive and brave man as well. When Christ explained to his disciples that He would suffer many things in Jerusalem, be killed, and raised to life on the third day, Peter took Christ aside and rebuked Him, “Never, Lord! This shall never happen to you” (Matthew 16:22). Moreover, when Christ told his disciples after the institution of the Lord’s Supper that they would all fall away, Peter declared, “Even if all fall away, I will not” (Mark 14:29). When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter was the one who took his sword and hacked off the ear of one of the arresting party (John 18:10). That was how Peter was: a bold and brash man, a leader among the disciples, someone not easily unsettled.

Did the angel make special mention of Peter because he deserved special recognition due to his prominent position among the disciples? Not at all.

For, what had happened shortly after Christ’s arrest? After Peter had boldly declared that he would never fall away, he denied his Lord the very same night! While it was bad enough that all the disciples had deserted Christ after his arrest in Gethsemane (Matthew 26:56), Peter fell to the deeper low of actually denying Christ verbally: “I don’t know this man” (Mark 14:71). When the rooster crowed, Peter remembered that Christ had foretold his denial. One of the Gospels even says that when the rooster crowed, Christ looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered (Luke 22:61). That glance cut into Peter’s heart. And then Peter went outside and wept bitterly (Luke 22:62).

We can well imagine that Peter’s sorrow did not disappear instantly. The sadness about his sinful actions undoubtedly lingered in Peter’s heart during the three days that Christ was in the grave.

And, therefore, already in the early hours of the day of Christ’s resurrection, God had a message for Peter! The message would come to Peter by means of the women to whom the angel spoke. “Go, tell his disciples and Peter...” The women would undoubtedly say to Peter: “The angel even mentioned your name specifically!” That would be very moving for Peter, and he would know instantly the implicit message: God still wanted him within the circle of disciples! God would not cast him away because of his deep fall. Peter had fallen hard, but God still counted him in! Peter also had to go to Galilee with the other disciples. In this way, God comforted and encouraged Peter in the sorrow over his sin.

The significance of the words “and Peter” is that they encapsulate the gospel of the forgiveness of sins! God had seen Peter’s broken heart and his tears, and God received him in grace. His sin was forgiven. And the messenger from heaven – the word “angel” literally means “messenger” – could convey this in these few words. Christ had died on the cross also for this sin of Peter. The angel proclaimed the gospel of forgiveness in these few words!

This has been revealed to us for our comfort. We are sinners. Daily we have to contend with the weakness of our faith and with the evil desires of our flesh. Sometimes we fall hard and are so very disappointed in ourselves. But when there is sorrow over sin and a desire to fight our unbelief and disobedience, we may be assured that God will not cast us away. God counts us in, just as He counted Peter in!

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